Technology Management Analysis
Technology Management Analysis
Healthcare organizations are increasingly adopting new technologies to improve their operations and performance and a gain competitive advantage over their rivals. Information technologies are being adopted by organizations in all sectors because they promise to deliver improved operations and performance regardless of the industry, the size and age of the firms. Adopting information technologies in organizations is a capital-intensive undertaking that requires prudent technology management. However, when well deployed, information technology can improve operational efficiency and lower the cost of healthcare (Ker, et al., 2014).
Tampa General Hospital is a large not-for-profit healthcare organization in the United States renowned for its innovative application of information technologies in its operations. The ensuing report focuses on the technology management at this hospital to understand the technology structure, the benefits accrued, and the challenges experienced. The information from the analysis is obtained from interview responses from staff and customers at the hospital, organizational publications, news reports, and the official website of the healthcare facility. This information is used to make recommendations related to information technology management for the hospital.
Role of Technology Management
Modern organizations continue to invest heavily in technology to improve their functioning and deliver quality service to their clients. However, new technologies are expensive and investing in them is a capital-intensive undertaking for many organizations, including those operating in the human services setting such as hospitals, clinics, hospices, and community centers, among others (Rogers, 2018). Therefore, technology should be well-managed for it to deliver the expected value to the organization.
Technology management is the application of management knowledge and practice, engineering, and science with technology as a means of creating wealth and value. It is a multidisciplinary field that is integrative and focuses on the effective solving of problems. Therefore, technology management combines management disciplines such as planning, controlling, and optimizing that enable organizations to manage their technology assets to create a competitive advantage in their areas of operations (Phillips, 2013).
Technology management plays a vital role in an organization because it facilitates the understanding of the value of various technologies for the firm. Technology is advancing and evolving continuously. Therefore, its importance to the organization justifies the continued investment in the emerging technologies so long as it continues to deliver competitive advantage (Rogers, 2018). Information technology is a valuable asset to organizations because it facilitates the organizational management process alongside delivering value and competitive advantage. Therefore, its management is vital to the enhanced and maximized use at the organization, which ensures that it continues to provide value to the organization and its stakeholders while delivering a decent return on investment (Ross, Verclas & Levine, 2009). In the human services setting, information technology is increasingly being adopted because of the benefits it proffers to the organizational operations and customers. Mainly, information technology is playing an increasingly important role in the strategic planning of organizations in the human services sector. Indeed, human services organizations are subjected to several changes such as technological advancements, potential changes in government policy, and economic trends that could significantly influence organizational operations (Phillips, 2013). In this regard, the strategic planning process benefits from information technology because it can facilitate the creation of objectives, the setting of goals, and the monitoring of their implementation and achievement (Ross, Verclas & Levine, 2009). Similarly, strategically planning for information technology in the organization ensures that the technological needs are well identified, the most suitable technology is procured using the available financial resources and that the technology is put into the right use so that it can deliver the expected value to the organization (Ross, Verclas & Levine, 2009).
Organizations in the human services industry need an information technology strategy that would guide them towards the achievement of information technology and business goals. The information technology strategy is formulated through a meticulous information technology planning process that considers the information technology needs, the financial resources available to procure the right information technology assets that can meet these needs, and the implementation process of the information technology assets so that they can deliver sustained value to the organization and its clients (Ross, Verclas & Levine, 2009). It should be noted that human services organizations collect vast amounts of client information that is required by the service providers. Accurate and regularly updated client information is vital for the delivery of high-quality human services, and information technology can facilitate strategic planning for the management of this information. Therefore, understanding the volume, the quality and the use of the healthcare processes and client information in such an organization can contribute to the strategic planning for the proper use of the information technology resources and deliver competitive advantage as well (Rogers, 2018).
Technology Management at Tampa General Hospital
Tampa General Hospital is a large hospital that is located on Davis Islands in downtown Tampa, in the State of Florida in the United States. It is a teaching hospital that has 1,018 beds, which is affiliated to the University of South Florida Health Morsani College of Medicine (Tampa General Hospital, 2019c). The hospital has a team of over 8,000 members comprising of senior management, a senior medical staff team, physicians and other healthcare practitioners. Notably, the medical staff officers consist of seven members who are headed by a chief of staff. In addition, there are about 1200 physicians at the hospital who are in private practice and affiliated to the University of South Florida, with over 300 of them being resident physicians attending the residency program at the university (Tampa General Hospital, 2019c).
Organizational Structure for Decision-Making in Technology Management
The hospital is a not-for-profit, private corporation that is one of the largest hospitals in Florida. Therefore it has a functional or bureaucratic organizational structure that is headed by a 16-member board of directors and which is chaired by John T. Touchton (Tampa General Hospital, 2019c). The senior management team comprises of executive vice presidents who are in charge of different functions in the hospital such as strategy, marketing, operations, nursing, finance, academics, medical, human resources, external affairs, development and support services as illustrated in appendix 1. This team of senior executive vice presidents is headed by a president and the chief executive officer (CEO), Mr. John Couris. The technology management at the hospital is overseen by the chief information officer (CIO), Scott Arnold, who is also an executive vice president. Under the CIO is the chief medical informatics officer, Peter Chang, who is also a vice president in charge of care transitions. The chief medical informatics officer works alongside the chief technology officer, Brian Hammond (Tampa General Hospital, 2019c). Therefore, the decision-makers in technology management at the hospital include the chief information officer, the chief medical informatics officer, and the chief technology officer as members of the senior management team.
Strategic Partnerships in Technology Management
The interviews revealed that all the staff at Tampa General Hospital believed that information technology was a partner in achieving the organizational goals at the hospital. As such, Tampa General Hospital is positioned to be a strategic partner with vendors and developers of information technology solutions in the healthcare sector. The hospital has invested heavily in information technology so that it can continuously improve the provision of healthcare to its patients. Some of the notable investments in information technology include having a website, www.tgh.org, two consumer applications, namely the TGH Virtual and Care TGH Go apps, a secure mobile app, mobile phones, a health information system, and information command center (Tampa General Hospital, 2019c). Specifically, the organizational website provides a wide array of services and information to clients and patients including information about the location of the hospital and its affiliated clinics, finding a physician, billing, healthcare services, and even hurricane alerts. The website also has links to social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to enhance consumer engagement with the hospital (Tampa General Hospital, 2019c).
Besides, patients can access their personal health information through ‘mychart’ in the website. Moreover, the website provides telehealth services through its ‘virtual care’ option alongside a downloadable mobile app. In this regard, the hospital has developed the TGH Virtual and Care TGH Go apps for clients and patients to access virtual care over their mobile phones. Also, the hospital has a secure mobile app for its physicians and nurses to facilitate communication among them. For the proper use of information technology, Tampa General Hospital was recognized as one the country’s most wired hospitals in the United States by the Health Forum of the American Hospital Associations (AHA) in 2017 for the fifth consecutive year (Tampa General Hospital, 2019c). However, some interviewees felt that the elderly experienced challenges in using the information technology available at the website and mobile applications.
The clearest indication of the information technology strategic partnership arrangement by Tampa General Hospital is in its collaboration with GE Healthcare to develop and implement a command center called CareComm. The command center aims at improving care coordination at the hospital. Particularly, it is expected that the center would facilitate the reduction of delays in the delivery of care, management of workload among the hospital staff, and prediction of risk, which should improve the efficiency of operations at the hospital. The partnership involves the use of the Wall of Analytics from GE Healthcare, which incorporates artificial intelligence, human intelligence, and predictive analytics to review data and make operational recommendations.
Tampa General Hospital has leveraged its technology management structure and processes positively to position the organization as a strategic partner in technology development, implementation and application. The structure of technology management at Tampa General Hospital involves three highly-proficient decision-makers at the senior management level. The decisions of these three are supported by a competent senior management team of vice presidents and a board of directors. Therefore, the decision-making process regarding technology management benefits from the diverse views of highly-skilled individuals, which makes it democratic. Specifically, the CIO of Tampa General Hospital has extensive experience in developing technologies for pilots and the military since he purchased his first computer in 1991. Besides, he is an ardent believer high-performing teams, which enables him to make decisions collaboratively. This is illustrated by his recognition as one of the CIOs of the year in 2018 (Manning, 2018). However, the downside of this vertical structure is that the decisions of the CIO and his team must be evaluated and approved by the board of directors before they can be implemented. As such, although the organizational structure at the hospital facilitates the making of high-quality decisions, the decision-making process is lengthy because it involves multiple decision-making layers. Specifically, decisions are escalated from the lower ranks to the senior management level, at which point they may be adopted, modified or rejected. The disadvantage with lengthy decision-making processes is that valuable opportunities could be missed by the delay and competitive advantage may be lost, especially if another organization can arrive at the same decision faster than Tampa General Hospital. The caveat to this disadvantage is that quick adoption of new technologies can be detrimental to an organization, particularly if the technology is not well tested and its performance not fully evaluated. In the case of Tampa General Hospital, slow decision-making can actually be an advantage particularly when large and expensive technology is involved. Notably, Tampa General Hospital adopted the Wall of Analytics technology after Humber River Hospital and John Hopkins Hospital in Toronto and Baltimore, respectively (Park, 2019). This allowed the decision-makers at Tampa General Hospital to evaluate the experiences of the other hospitals with the technology before deciding to invest in it. This way, Tampa General Hospital was able to guarantee that the technology suited its needs.
The vision of Tampa General Hospital is to ‘be the safest and most innovative academic health system in America’ while its shared purpose statement is, ‘We heal. We teach. We innovate. Care for everyone. Everyday’, which doubles up as its mission statement. One of the goals of the hospital is ‘to provide an atmosphere that promotes courteous and professional communication between co-workers, students, patients and all members of the healthcare team’ (Tampa General Hospital, 2019c). Therefore, the enormous investments in information technology at Tampa General Hospital are in line with the vision, mission and goals of the hospital. Indeed, the organization and particularly the chief information officer (CIO), Scott Arnold, and most of the physicians and the nurses view these technologies as facilitating the achievement of the organizational goals as revealed by an interview conducted at the hospital.
Financial aspects of technology management at Tampa General Hospital
Tampa General Hospital invests heavily in information technology and its management. According to Manning (2019), although the hospital’s operating revenue increased by 5.4 % to reach 1.325 billion US dollars in 2018, its operating earnings plunged by 31.4 % to reach 13.6 million US dollars while its operating margin fell by 1 % in the same period. Nonetheless, the healthcare facility uses these earnings from its services and donations for charitable organizations and well-wishers to invest in information technology and its management. For instance, the hospital engaged in the CareComm information management project as part of its capital expenditures worth 50 million US dollars. Specifically, Griffin (2019) reported that Tampa General Hospital dedicated 13 million US dollars to the CareComm center, with 2.5 million dollars going towards the 8,000-squre-foot building that hosts the facility and its coordination team. One million dollars that were donated by the Tampa General Hospital Charitable Foundation went towards this project. This investment comes in the wake of pursuing the goal of using the care coordination approach rather than the emergency room hospital approach. Information technology is set to critical a key role in this transition, according to the hospital’s CEO and president (McMorris, 2018).
The financial planning and budgeting processes at Tampa General Hospital are a collaborative effort of the entire team at the hospital. For instance, in the planning for the CareComm center, the need to streamline operations and eliminate chronic delays was identified as the primary goal of the investment in technology management. The data provided by the clinical staff informed the scope and type of information technology required at the facility. In addition, the government influences the technology management decisions at Tampa General Hospital. Specifically, due to the call by the government for private hospitals to increase their information technology investments to lower the cost of healthcare, Tampa General Hospital has invested in health information technology (HIT) such as the electronic health records (EHR) (Lee, McCullough & Town, 2013). The heightened access of health information technology by the hospital staff and patients through mobile solutions has been incentivized by the Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements upon achieving ‘meaningful use’ of the technology (Lee, McCullough & Town, 2013). The incentive payments provided to the hospital and its healthcare professionals motivates Tampa General Hospital to adhere to the requirements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 (Lee, McCullough & Town, 2013).
The CareComm center is expected to yield a significant return on investment when fully operational. Specifically, the information management facility is expected to save the hospital between 60 and 80 million US dollars annually alongside improving the operational efficiency of the hospital (Griffin, 2019). Already, during the trial phase of the CareComm initiative in its temporary facility, the hospital was able to save about 10 million US dollars. In addition, the CareComm center helped reduce the readmission rates at the hospital by 5 % (Griffin, 2019).
Performance of technology management at Tampa General Hospital
The interviews revealed that Tampa General Hospital was keeping abreast with the technological changes in healthcare. Specifically, all IT personnel, 90 % of the clinicians and 80 % of the nurses, felt that the hospital was responding very well to the technological changes in the healthcare sector as illustrated in figure 1.
Figure 1. Perceptions of the hospital staff about the hospital’s response to technological changes
In addition, all the clinicians, 80 % of the IT personnel and 70 % of the nurses felt that technology management at the hospital was enhancing customer service as indicated in figure 2. The few interviewees who were unsure cited difficulties in using the technology by patients because patients often confirmed services using phonecalls to followup the information obtained from the IT platforms.
Figure 2. Is technology management enhancing customer service at the hospital?
Tampa General Hospital has prioritized information technology as its source of competitive advantage. As such, the hospital continuously upgrades its technology with the latest technological innovations in the healthcare and technology industries. Specifically, apart from using EHRs and HITs, the hospital was availing information technology through mobile apps, which had increased access to health-related information and improved communication among the hospital personnel. Moreover, the hospital had gone ahead to employ predictive analysis using artificial intelligence technology. In the same vein, the hospital uses various social media platforms that are linked to its official website to enhance the engagement between the hospital personnel and administration, the patients, and the public. For instance, the Facebook page and the Twitter account of the hospital were created in 2011 and 2012, respectively, and have over 20,000 followers each currently (Tampa General Hospital, 2019a, 2019b). In these social media networks, patients share their experiences at the hospital while the hospital staff posts educative health information alongside addressing healthcare concerns. In addition, the performance of the hospital can be inferred from the reviews posted on its social media website, which in this case, are very positive. Notably, Tampa General Hospital management is very active on these social media platforms, which is indicative of the importance the hospital attaches to keeping the public informed and interacting with its clients (Tampa General Hospital, 2019a, 2019b). In this regard, the high social media activity is indicative of the effectiveness of technology management at the hospital. Indeed, these improvements in technology management were helping the hospital achieve its organizational strategy of being the safest and most innovative academic healthcare system in the United States. Moreover, these improvements were enhancing customer service by increasing client and staff engagement.
However, Thimbleby (2013) cautions that human factors would continue limiting the innovation and effective use of technology in the healthcare sector. According to him, although technology may improve the delivery of healthcare services, it does not heal. Therefore, technology advancements, innovations and implementations should be patient-centered to yield the desired health benefits.
Although the board of directors and the senior management team at Tampa General Hospital have performed well in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of technology at the healthcare facility, various recommendations are provided at the structural, strategic and tactical levels.
At the structural level, it is recommended that the hospital engages in more collaboration in making information technology decisions to reduce the time in which decisions are made. This can be done through the use of decision-making teams that comprise of the senior management and representatives from the clinical staff and the clients. This way, the needs of the patients would be given priority over the benefits to the hospital. As such, the information management policies and objectives should be patient-centered because they would facilitate the delivery of most value to the patient rather than the hospital.
At the strategic level, it is recommended that the hospital focuses on making its technology easy to use by the clients as the long-term goal. In this regard, the hospital should work closely with the technology developers to implement technology solutions that are user-friendly, and therefore can be used by any person with minimal knowledge in information technology.
At the tactical level, it is recommended that the hospital team holds regular training sessions for its patients regarding the use of the technology availed by the hospital. Preferably, the hospital should have instructions on the use of its mobile apps and website conducted via telephone for elderly clients. These training sessions should be conducted whenever a new client seeks services at the hospital and when clients make inquiries regarding the various services available at the facility. In addition, ‘how to use’ instructions should be posted on the website and social media platforms where they can be accessed by the clients and the public.
The high speed of technology advancements and the increased adoption of information technology in healthcare organizations have incentivized the need for prudent technology management in these establishments. Tampa General Hospital has prioritized information technology as a tool for delivering high-quality healthcare services efficiently and effectively. To this end, the hospital has made significant investments in information technology, which have made it one of the most technologically connected hospitals in the United States. Beyond the inspiration provided by the ARRA and HITECH Acts, Tampa General Hospital has taken the initiative of implementing cutting-edge technologies at its premises, such as the CareComm Center, which uses artificial intelligence to make predictive decisions. Moreover, the hospital uses mobile technologies extensively in its telehealth initiatives. Indeed, these technologies have been widely accepted by the hospital’s community. However, some of these technologies are very advanced and therefore, difficult to use by elderly healthcare consumers. Consequently, it is recommended that the technology management at the hospital is more patient-centric so that it can deliver the intended benefits to the hospital and the clients.
Griffin, J. (2019). Tampa General’s new ‘command center’ cuts delays saving millions. Tampa Bay Business Journal. Retrieved from https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2019/08/20/tampa-generals-new-command-center-cuts-delays-saving-millions/.
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Manning, M. (2018). Meet Scott Arnold, a 2018 CIO of the Year honoree. Tampa Bay Business Journal. Retrieved from https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2018/09/10/meet-scott-arnold-cio-of-the-year-honoree.html.
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McMorris, F. (2018). Tampa General’s new CEO shares details of plans to make the hospital more patient-centric. Tampa Bay Business Journal. Retrieved from https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2018/06/01/tampa-generals-new-ceo-shares-details-on-plans-to.html.
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Tampa General Hospital (2019c). Official website. Retrieved from https://www.tgh.org/.
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Appendix 1. The Organizational Structure of Tampa General Hospital
Appendix 2. Interview Questions
- Are you in the management team, a physician, a nurse, a client or any other healthcare practitioner at Tampa General Hospital?
- Are you familiar with the mission, vision and goals of Tampa General Hospital?
- Are you familiar with the technology investments at Tampa General Hospital?
- Is technology a partner in achieving the organizational goals of Tampa General Hospital?
- Are the technology investments at Tampa General Hospital aligned with its mission and vision?
- How does Tampa General Hospital finance its technology?
- Is Tampa General Hospital responding effectively to the continuous changes in technology in the health sector?
- Is the technology management at Tampa General Hospital facilitating the achievement of the organizational strategies at the hospital?
- Is the technology management at Tampa General Hospital enhancing customer service at the hospital?